Meet the Miners 2022
On November 15, 2022, the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) held Meet the Miners at Queen’s Park, an annual event at which industry leaders meet with provincial decision-makers to share achievements, and to discuss issues of consequence to the industry and Ontarians. For 44 years, Meet the Miners has offered members of the Legislative Assembly and senior mining executives a platform to learn from each other, build relationships, and celebrate our dynamic, innovative industry, which has long been an engine of growth in Ontario. 

“It is such a pleasure to hold this event in-person for the first time since 2019,” said Natasha Vaz, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Ontario, Australia and Mexico, Agnico Eagle Mines, and Chair of the OMA Board of Directors. “Nothing really replaces the spontaneous connection moments that only happen at face-to-face events – opportunities to meet new peers, catch up with friends, or have a lively discussion. We are grateful to Minister of Mines, George Pirie, who co-hosted the event and encouraged so many MPPs and civil servants to attend.” 

video that played during the reception, summarizes the current state and future potential of Ontario mining. “The opportunities for the Ontario mining industry have arguably never been greater than they are now,” said the OMA President, Chris Hodgson, “As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, faces increasing geopolitical uncertainty, and as the race to halt climate change accelerates, Ontario is primed to continue contributing meaningful solutions, while capitalizing on rising global demand for green and critical minerals.” Chris Hodgson added that, “More than ever, the world values what we mine and, crucially, how we mine it, as businesses and governments seek to align their growth strategies with people’s evolving principles.” A State of the Ontario Mining Sector report that OMA published this spring in partnership with the Ministry of Mines forecasts that the GDP contribution from the mining industry in Ontario will grow 25% between 2020 and 2025, from an estimated total direct contribution of $7.5 billion in 2019 to an expected $9.3 billion by 2025. It is a forecast that, along with our Critical Minerals Analysis, should give Ontarians hope and confidence for the future.

Much of Meet the Miners 2022 was devoted to discussing various pathways to turning this potential into reality. The day began with OMA Board members meeting with Minister Pirie, who stressed the pivotal role of miners in “leading the charge toward decarbonization of our economy,” adding that, “we will not meet our climate goals and our growth goals unless we mine in Ontario.” Minister Pirie acknowledged the efforts of Ministry of Mines staff, who are working collaboratively with the OMA and industry leaders on ensuring that Ontario is successful in taking advantage of emerging market opportunities, while weathering current and projected volatility.

Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets Inc., shared his expert perspective on the market outlook for our sector, stressing the significant shifts in the labour markets, which are still experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uncertainly brought on by geopolitics. Stephen De Jong, CEO of VRIFY, a technology platform being used by some of the world’s most prominent mining companies to communicate their value to investors with 3D models, virtual tours, and interactive presentation tools, addressed the challenge of attracting more younger people to the mining sector, positing that, “technology is the bridge that will bring the next generation to mining.” Chris Benedetti, a Managing Partner with Sussex Strategy Group, and Mark Olsheski, Vice President in the Energy Practice at Sussex, addressed issues that is of crucial importance for the completeness of our sector: energy pricing and policy, as well as pathways to electrification and decarbonization. The Honourable Todd Smith, Minister of Energy, added his perspective on the subject. He said, “With increasing demand for electrification, we need Ontario mines more than ever to produce the critical minerals for batteries, EVs and other innovative technologies that will drive our transition toward a clean economy.” OMA members thanked him for a number of positive policy initiatives, including the expansion of the Northern Electricity Advantage Program (formerly Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program) and the promotion of Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs to ensure a reliable, affordable, and clean electricity system to power the province and drive electrification.

In addition to hearing about his current mandate as Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Northern Development, OMA members had an opportunity to recognize the contributions of The Honourable Greg Rickford, who led our sector through the Covid-19 pandemic and introduced the Critical Minerals Strategy during his tenure as Minister of Mines, among other achievements. In his remarks, Minister Rickford stressed, “As the Minister of Northern Development, I can tell you we are focused on prosperity and supporting communities and companies to advance their projects.”
Each of the government dignitaries who spoke at this year’s Meet the Miners reception, including NDP MPP for Algoma—Manitoulin, Michael Mantha, who serves as the Opposition Critic for Mines and Natural Resources, as well as Ted Hsu, the MPP for Kingston and the Islands and the Liberal Party’s Critic of Mines, stressed the need to collaborate on creating a favourable investment climate that benefits all Ontarians, and expressed commitment to continued dialogue. 

“This is why Meet the Miners is so important,” said Natasha Vaz. “Open, honest dialogue and collaboration among industry, governments and other partners are absolutely essential, if we are to keep pace with the market and respond to the growing demand for responsibly mined minerals.” 

We are grateful to everyone who contributed their specialized knowledge, technical expertise and
passion, making important conversations happen at Meet the Miners 2022. 

Thank you to our sponsors for making the day such a success.
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